How is Ron Rivera staying positive despite many anticipating his departure from the Washington Commanders after the final three games of 2023?
Ron Rivera is surprisingly upbeat in front of the media despite his fate looking increasingly bleak beyond 2023. The consensus seems to be that the head coach will be fired once the next three games have been navigated. Josh Harris' ownership group is looking to make their mark and the Washington Commanders haven't enjoyed any prolonged success throughout the campaign.
It's hard to keep everyone motivated when there's nothing much left to play for. Those around the franchise are probably aware of what comes next. Rivera is a dead man walking and has been for a long time regarding his job status.
When discussing the message he's still trying to get across, Rivera was eager for his squad to remember why they started playing this game in the first place as a source of motivation based on comments via Sports Illustrated.
"I think it's about getting the opportunity to go out and play more than anything else. I mean, this really is about wanting to be out there, wanting to play this game. And again, you also appeal to their side as professionals. As a professional, you play for what's out there for you and for these guys, yes, it's the opportunity to go out and play and just go out there and want to play, first and foremost. That is what we'll continue to emphasize."- Ron Rivera via Sports Illustrated
That might work on college kids or those looking to carve out their early path in the NFL. But it's likely to fall on deaf ears with senior figures whose bodies are aching. Those individuals already have their sights set on a long vacation based on performance levels in recent weeks.
Rivera will go about his business professionally and with dignity. Things haven't gone his way. It was a difficult job to take on. Staying the course until told otherwise is something he feels obliged to do before that difficult conversation with Harris arrives.
Some of his players have downed tools, which isn't uncommon. Most of those are unlikely to be around under the new regime considering how much draft capital and salary-cap space the Commanders have to utilize throughout what's going to be a dramatic offseason.
The former linebacker has been through this before with the Carolina Panthers. At least Harris is showing enough respect to let Rivera finish out his regular season commitments. This was not afforded to him by David Tepper - a man whose constant meddling in football-related affairs has turned the NFC South outfit into the NFL's laughing stock.
Rivera is holding his head high in difficult circumstances. That speaks volumes about his character. But it doesn't change the fact that landmark changes to the Commanders' infrastructure are critical as part of Harris' ambitious plans to get this organization back among the contenders.
This is probably the end of Rivera's head coaching journey in the NFL. He came agonizingly close to winning a Super Bowl in 2015. Since then, suspect roster building and poor quarterback evaluation have been the primary catalysts behind his demise.
He doesn't need the money. Or the stress. But one thing above all else, Rivera is going to enjoy every second of the ride he has left before riding off into the sunset.